S4778B-S4783 - Italian Competition Authority: taxis, increase the number of licences and the flexibility of shifts


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According to the Authority, the concerned Municipalities (Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence and Palermo) must also provide stable monitoring of the supply and an adequate level of taxi service to transport people with particularly serious disabilities.

The Italian Competition Authority continues its activity in the taxi service. In August 2023, the Italian Competition Authority sent an initial request for information to the Municipalities of Milan, Naples and Rome and to the main cooperatives and taxi booking platforms in order to examine the service provision conditions and to shed light on the serious shortcomings experienced by users.

Once the analysis of the information acquired was completed, the Authority sent a complaint to the three aforementioned Municipalities highlighting some important concerns, such as the structural insufficiency of the licences to meet the demand (which generates a very high number of outstanding requests and excessively long waiting times); a general inertia within Municipalities in requesting the necessary information from taxi cooperatives to verify the adequacy of the service, with negative results in terms of uncovering and promptly correcting any concerns; and excessive rigidity in the organisation of shifts.

On 17 November 2023, the AGCM sent another request for information to the Municipalities and taxi cooperatives of Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Palermo and Turin. A structural shortage of supply was found in the Municipality of Palermo including the absence of controls and flexible shift regulation measures, while in the Municipality of Florence there was a lack of any monitoring mechanism on the provision and quality of the service, for which the Authority decided to send a complaint highlighting these concerns.

Conversely, in the Municipalities of Bologna, Genoa and Turin, no particular concerns were found in the supply of the service, so no communication was sent.

In addition, in order to improve the efficiency and the quality of the taxi service, the Italian Competition Authority - including on the basis of the situation found in some Municipalities - suggested in its complaints that certain remedies be adopted.

Firstly, the number of licences needs to be altered to reflect demand by pushing the increase beyond the 20% ceiling set on an extraordinary basis in the ‘Assets Decree’ (no. 104/2023 converted into Law no. 136 of 9 October 2023), adopting, for this purpose, public calls for tenders to assign new licences as soon as possible.

Secondly, the quality of the service needs to be monitored in a stable, effective way, requesting, at least annually, the necessary information from taxi cooperatives to establish whether the number of active licences is sufficient to meet demand, making the results of the monitoring activity public.

According to the Authority, additional measures should also be adopted, such as regulating the second driver rule, implementing taxi sharing and increasing the efficiency of shifts. In this way, for example, in Florence - during periods of greater demand - taxi drivers could provide their services with greater flexibility and the municipal administration could issue temporary licences. It should be noted that taxi sharing is binding when at least three users are headed to the same destination area.

Finally, with a view to maintaining an adequate level of taxi service to transport people with particularly serious disabilities, the Municipalities must adjust, where necessary, the number of taxi licences issued to cars equipped to perform this particular service.

Rome, 6 March 2024